"Color negative film sales have been very stable over the past year. Black-and-white is also doing extremely well. It almost feels that there is a very real resurgence for film. A lot of people that were completely digital are now accepting film again for certain things—or they do like the workflow. And the most exciting thing is to see the younger people adopt film. It’s almost a generational thing. They have not shot film growing up, but once they do get a hold of film in a university, they just seem to fall in love with it."
(Thanks to a friend of the site)
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Featured Comment by Chris: "I fall into the group of kids at a university/college that love film now. I started photography five years ago with a Nikon D50 and loved digital for the quick learning curve and feedback. Before I had tried an N65, but never really learned much from shooting film at the time, or had the motivation because of the turnaround time.
"When I became enrolled in community college, I have Richard Lohmann to thank for teaching me both film and digital to a much more refined state. Now at a university that does not have such a fine arts inspired background, it is interesting to see a much stronger position on digital than film. This is of course my experience at my school and am sure it can be different elsewhere.
"To me now, both are viable options, more dependent on my mood than anything else. Some days you just want to pick up a completely mechanical camera and forget about screens, pixels and computers.
"I will admit every now and then though, when shooting film, after taking a frame, my finger subconsciously may stray to the 'review button' to see what I took. ;)"
Featured Comment by Mindling: "Having just turned 70 I represent the other end of the generational scale from Chris. For 40 years photography was film and the darkroom. Recently I've reconnected with film, not so much for the medium, but for a vintage camera and lenses that go with it.
"Somewhere after 1995 I embraced digital without looking back. Until just a few weeks ago. I think it was here, during the discussion of beautiful-looking cameras. While the chat was pretty much about Leicas, it also recalled to me my first 'real' camera, the 1958 Exakta Varex IIa, and I decided I must have one again.
"And, of course, two or four of the solid Gerrman lenses made for it, with names like Zeiss, Schneider, and Isco. I love all the controls and dials, the engraved markings. Two knobs just to set shutter speeds! A built-in knife to remove part of a roll. Re-learning to focus on the ground glass, zeroing in with decreasing swings across the sweet spot. Actually looking at the aperture and shutter speed settings to set exposures based on the variations of the 'sunny 16' approach. I've been shooting color negative film with it, but thinking in B&W. A recent outing was to a vintage travel trailer show, where it seemed a natural to photograph the event with a vintage camera.
"So for me, it's not so much about film, but the feel of the cameras that go with it."
Featured Comment by Bryce Lee: "Being one who has always used film, I found the availability of the review screen on a digital photographic device to be a hinderance. I don't review the image when using digital. To me a digital chip is another method of saving an image. Joy is pushing the button on the camera that records the image. Hapiness is reviewing the images at a later date."
Featured Comment by Ken Owen: "Fully agree with featured-comment Chris re digital's quick learning curve. I started with film yonks ago when, as a skint schoolboy, I would wince at the cost of experimentation. Digital has given me the freedom to shoot thousands of 'experiments,' and I love it. Once happy with a digitally-honed technique, film beckons."
Featured Comment by David Dyer-Bennet: "I'm happy to hear people enjoying shooting film, whether it's an old friend or a new infatuation. I had plenty of fun shooting film over the years myself, and have just a faint tinge of nostalgia on the topic myself.
"But let's keep some historical details straight. In the film era most photographers would have paid a LOT of money for an instant, accurate, review function.
"We can be sure of that, because a lot of them did, for a slow (over a minute) and quite inaccurate one. Polaroid backs were widely used by studio photographers for that purpose (even though the film behaved very differently than the slide film in their cameras, so they had to learn to relate the two). There was enough demand for a Polaroid back for 35mm that eventually Marty Forscher managed to develop one. It used a fiber-optic plate about 1/4" thick to move the image back to where he could manage to position the film. It was of course 1:1, 24x36mm, so it was a very small image. And he still sold a lot of them.
"I also read, in the magazines, of studio shooters who, after testing with Polaroids, shot some test sheets (4x5) and sent them by courier to the 35-minute E6 lab (they were in New York, of course), got them back, made final adjustments, and then finally shot the actual sheets for the client.
"People shooting digital today who don't want a review function, don't have to use it. But the vast majority of film photographers of the past would think you were making a pretty weird choice!"